Home > News > Kite Line

Kite Line

Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.

Kite Line- January 12, 2018: Shine A Light- Tensions Spreading in the Prisons

This week, we feature two snapshots from fast-developing situations inside the prison system. First, we share an anonymized statement from a prisoner participating in final preparations for Operation: PUSH, the statewide strike inside Florida prisons next week. Second, we broadcast an analysis by a Michigan prisoner of the recently instated mail ban there, which is strikingly similar to the new …

Read More »

Kite Line- January 5, 2018: Operation PUSH

In this week’s episode, we speak with Karen Smith in Florida, who gives us insights into Operation PUSH. Kicking off in just 10 days, Operation PUSH is a prisoner-organized work stoppage inside Florida’s sprawling Prison System. In their own words, Operation PUSH is “asking all prisoners within the Department of Corrections to take a stand by laying down starting January …

Read More »

Kite Line- December 29, 2017: You Can’t Force the State to Abide by the Law

In this week’s episode, we hear from Valerie Buford, the sister of Leon Benson, a prisoner here in Indiana. Valerie talks about the circumstances that lead to Leon being imprisoned on a murder charge since 1998. Through her story, you can hear how difficult it is to navigate the legal system, especially with few financial resources. Valerie walked us through …

Read More »

Kite Line- December 22, 2017: Rightlessness

This week we speak with Naomi Paik about her 2016 book, Rightlessness. Her work addresses the most pressing contemporary issues, drawing together the brutal state of exception imposed on Haitian and Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo with the historical experience of Japanese internment camps and the current anti-immigrant drive. She focuses on the spaces – whether prisons, concentration camps, or immigrant …

Read More »

Kite Line- December 15, 2017: PREA, Part Two

This week features our second segment on PREA- the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Last week, we heard from Irene, who is being held in the Indiana Women’s Prison. She described her run-ins with PREA, leading to a broader analysis of the failure of prison bureaucracies to meaningfully respond to real abuse. At the same time, she shows how these bureaucracies …

Read More »

Kite Line- December 8, 2017: PREA, Part One

This episode is the start of our conversation about PREA, the Prison Rape Elimination Act. PREA was passed in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. The purpose of the act was to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and …

Read More »

Kite Line- December 1, 2017: Feminist Organizing in Prison

This week, we share part of a talk from two women organizing with prisoners. They speak candidly about the basics of supporting prisoners, and include some of the dynamics they noticed while working with those on the inside. We have more to share from these women committed to such solidarity, but we are offering this talk as a launching point …

Read More »

Kite Line- November 24, 2017: Transitions to the Outside

In this episode we give follow-up information about the hunger strike at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Then, we finish a conversation with Salomon X, a former prisoner in southern Illinois. Two weeks ago, he shared stories of different issues he faced in a variety of facilities. Now, he continues talking about his experiences behind the walls, and about his …

Read More »

Kite Line- November 17, 2016: Two Weeks Into the Hunger Strike at Wabash Valley

In Wabash Valley, Shaka Shakur is maintaining his hunger strike, demanding an end to guard abuses and the isolation of active prisoners in camera cells. We spoke with his wife, Akili Shakur, who provided context for the struggle undertaken by Shaka and other prisoners, along with background on his imprisonment and the role of guards in targeting prisoners and stoking …

Read More »

Kite Line- November 10, 2017: 23 Hours In & One Hour Out- The View From Menard

This week, we share the words and experiences of Salomon X, a former prisoner in Illinois. In the first of two episodes with Salomon, he describes poor conditions and exploitation in the Menard prison, site of many recent struggles, and compares it with other facilities. Many of his memories will be recognizable to Hoosiers; elsewhere, he has spoken of prisoners …

Read More »